Kids and Freedom – Tim Gill’s HuffPost 9 Plus 3 from PlayGroundology

Great list from Tim Gill on giving kids more freedom in a recent edition of UK Huff Post. Each of the 9 items listed in the article will help kids blaze a trail to greater freedom. Together they are a powerful recipe for fun, discovery and stretching limits.

I’m supplementing Tim’s list with 3 additions of my own (10 through 12) to make it an even dozen. Send PlayGroundology a comment if you have items to add to the list.

10. Create opportunities for your kids to explore and play in the natural world. If you have green spaces close to where you live, set the children free to explore. If not, take them to a park, a ravine, to the woods, the seashore – many opportunities for play will present themselves and the benefits of spending time in nature are well documented. Do caution about potential hazards.

Because They Want to Live in Nature

11. Make your home a play zone. I’m not talking anything grandiose here, no large infusions of cash for play installations or play houses and such. Get a few loose parts – milk crates, tires, inner tubes, tarps, ropes, cardboard boxes, a few planks of lumber and let the kids have at it in the backyard. There are hours of self-directed play and discovery with this kind of material and your yard will become a very popular destination. No backyard? Get a small group of parents together and explore what’s possible on lands managed by your local authority.

In Kids We Trust

12. Listen. Listen to your kids about what they would like to do. They have great play ideas. Make the space and time to embrace some of them and enable them to happen. Listen to yourself, remember the play adventures you had as a child – savour, share with your own kids…

Fort Summer

Support play, independence and resilience – get the kids outdoors to explore and have fun.


3 responses to “Kids and Freedom – Tim Gill’s HuffPost 9 Plus 3 from PlayGroundology

  1. Thanks for this Alex. You might also add that there is plenty of literature on outdoor play for families. Here are a couple of good books on this in my clollection:
    Family Gardens: creating magical spaces for outdoor play: Bunny Guinness: Pub. David & Charles.
    Natural Playscapes: creating outdoor play environments for the soul: Rusty Keeler: Exchange Press.
    Note – Rusty is about to publish his next book on Adventure Playgrounds.


    • Thanks for sharing these resources Don – always appreciated and great to know about new books coming out. Just hear about one through an opinion pieve in NY Times. It looks good – Small Animals by Kim Brooks, available August 21 –

      By the by, have you written any books yourslef over the course of all those years you have played with and worked on behalf of kids? Cheers from Nova Scotia


  2. Hi Alex – In 1987 the Volunteer Centre published a small book of mine called
    Involving Volunteers in Children’s Play. There are still a few copies around. One turned up a few months ago when a professor from Chile came to see me and, to my amazement, brought one for me to autograph. It had never happened before. A good friend,he great play man and journalist Peter Heseltine, helped it through the press and his sister produced delightful illustrations for the cover and the various sections.


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